334 THE ADVOCATE
VOL. 79 PART 3 MAY 2021
Even without such evolving circumstances, it will always be difficult to
evaluate whether economic rights have been breached, and it will be difficult
for any adjudicator, whether a court or the committee, to determine
whether resources have been allocated appropriately or indeed the extent
of resources available. Some inequalities in economic outcomes may never
rise to the level of a breach of rights in any event.
Particularly in face of such conceptual and practical challenges, it would
be easy to brush aside the subjects of economic insecurity and inequality
and move onto other things. Indeed, various reports predict that those of us
who can afford to do so are about to throw ourselves with abandon into a
new version of the Roaring Twenties that followed the Spanish flu. However,
for the purpose of steeling our resolve to improve the situation of
those who cannot afford to party, harkening back even to some of the selfabsorbed
sentiments noted earlier in this piece may be helpful. The economic
fears for ourselves and gratitude to others that are among our
memories especially from early in the pandemic should remain fixed in our
minds as we consider how, not whether, to ensure that the realization of the
economic rights reflected in the ICESCR is indeed progressed.
1. Rachel Elbaum, “World’s Richest Become Wealthier
During COVID Pandemic as Inequality Grows”, NBC
News (25 January 2021), online: <www.nbcnews.
2. Pamela Heaven, “Posthaste: Canadian Billionaires
Add $50 Billion to Their Wealth Pile During the Pandemic”,
Financial Post (26 November 2020), online:
3. Adopted and opened for signature, ratification and
accession by General Assembly res 2200A (XXI) of
16 December 1966, entry into force 3 January
1976, in accordance with Article 27.
4. Of course, as is clear from the ICESCR’s title, it sets
out other rights as well, of equal or arguably greater
importance. Economic rights are simply the focus of
5. “Canada’s Appearance at the United Nations Committee
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”,
7. E/C.12/CAN/CO/6 (23 March 2016).
8. Ibid at para 6.
10. Ibid at para 61.
11. Online: <www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/
12. See, for example, “Statement by Ms. Louise Arbour,
High Commissioner for Human Rights to the third
session of the Open-Ended WG OP ICESCR” (6 February
2006), online: <https://newsarchive.ohchr.
13. 2002 SCC 84.